Sunday, September 18, 2016

The inevitable end might be near...

...or it might not. (If you've wondered: Lindy is old, but doing fine.)
My husband showed me a video online about the death of the last 9/11 rescue dog, a Golden Retriever. She was 16 years old, and looked just like our Lindy, probably because all elderly Golden Retrievers look alike...the white face, and all the white hairs in an otherwise golden coat.
Of course I cried, as I knew I would—as he knew I would, too, and as he had already done.
There is no preparation a family can make for the end of a Golden era, but this applies to all families who have been loved by a dog of any breed.

Whatever can be said about dogs has already been said, and I can't add any more wisdom on the subject. I can only empathize.
I have had many dogs in my lifetime. I loved them, and they loved me.
Outstanding in the Davies family's history of dogs was Wag, a Scotch collie who herded kittens for lack of anything else to herd. When there were no more kittens, he tried to herd our adult cats, but they, cattily, wanted none of that.
The exception was Cookie, our deaf cat. Wag appointed himself Cookie's keeper, and if she wandered too far away from the house, he'd fetch her. If she was on the ground, he'd herd her home—if she was up a tree, he'd go home to get a family member to help him.
There were very sad things, too—when our Samoyed, Baron, was hit by a car, he picked himself up and waited on the sidewalk for a moment until someone opened the door of my family's printing shop. Baron went in and put his head in my mother's lap, just as the door opened again and a man told Mom "Your dog was run over by a car."
Mom and Dad rushed Baron to the veterinarian, but nothing could be done. "There is too much damage to his internal organs," said the vet. "I'm surprised he lived through that incident." But Baron wanted his family to be with him before he died.
Later, though, there was Chiquita, the world's smartest poodle, or so we thought. She was spoiled, but she was never never rotten. She charmed the neighbours by taking her bowl in her mouth, then using it to knock on their door at mealtime, despite the fact that she was very well fed at home.
Petie and Ralph, very close family friends, would even invite her in to sit at the table to eat steak for breakfast.
Mom and Dad and Rob's next dog, after Chiquita, was Niña, who  came from a litter my neighbour's dog produced. Mom chose her because she was the only blonde in the litter, but little did Mom and Dad know what they were in for, with the dreaded Ninja Puppy.
Niña barked. She barked at everything and everyone, indiscriminately, a happy good-to-see-you bark, a joyous we're-going-somewhere bark, all the way to a destination, and all the way back.
She wasn't a dummy, that dog, however. Far from it. My much-younger brother Rob took her to obedience classes in the high school gym, where she learned every command, performed perfectly, and graduated. However, in her little-dog mind, that was what she did at dog school. She would not obey commands at home. It was like the separation of church and state, and never the twain shall meet.
She was very cute, and very smart, as I've already said, so Mom and Dad didn't change their lifestyle. They continued to drive, from their little place near Vancouver, BC, to their little place south of Mexicali, on the Baja Peninsula's beautiful Sea of Cortez. They would leave British Columbia before winter hit, and drive home six months later.
They enjoyed the drive for years. Until they got Niña. She barked all the way down to San Felipe, and all the way back.
Eventually, they couldn't take it any more, so they gave her to me.
I was living in a small town in the interior of British Columbia, where everybody knew almost everyone else. One day, a friend introduced me to his aunt. "Oh, I know Kay," she said. "Kay has the car that barks."
I had two cats at that time, and the Ninja Puppy loved them. When she'd been out for a while, she came home and greeted them by chewing on their necks, softly, of course, but getting them very wet.
One cat, my wonderful Herman, would allow her to enthuse in this way for several minutes, until he emerged dripping wet.
My other cat, Ava, was a meanie. Not just when she was old: she was mean and nasty her whole life. She would allow the dog exactly three neck-chews. Then she'd extract herself from Niña's mouth with a glare and a hiss. That didn't bother the Ninja puppy, however. She loved all people and pets indiscriminately, whether they loved her back or not.
One of my friends had several boys, and I'd hire them to do outside chores, until suddenly they started to bring their friends over, and not to work.
My place had a long hall from my back door to the kitchen. Ava would lie just inside the kitchen, periodically peering down the hall, waiting for someone to come by.
My rent-a-kids would dare their friends to walk down the hall. Some of them escaped the Wrath of Cat, while others ended up with bleeding ankles. I found it quite funny, although I didn't want to, but teenage boys being beaten up by a cat was more than somewhat amusing...they would jump up and down on the unscratched leg, saying things young boys aren't supposed to say.
I had to put a stop to it, though, before a herd of angry parents came knocking on my door to complain about Ava.
When my other cat, my beloved Herman, died, a steady stream of people came to my door to tell me how much they loved him, and how he would come to visit their babies, or puppies, or kittens, or babies and puppies. He was a cat in a hundred, and deserves to be included in a blog post about dogs.
Linking with Our World Tuesday, where Lady Fi knows all about dogs.


Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Beautiful memories Kay... it is one of the things we must accept when taking on our companion anipals, that we outlive them, one after the other. Golly, though, they are worth that challenge! YAM xx

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Sigh. Animals just dont live long enough - a heartbreaking fact. But full and rich they make our lives while they are here. Jas is failing, too, Kay. Vet says not long now. Her tumour is growing fast and spread from underneath on her chest, up her side. So sad to see them get old.

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

Yes, many pets here, too, over the years. :-(

Mara said...

I haven't had that many pets through the years, having only started in adulthood, but I loved them all. The one I cried most over though was Wuppie, my quite dumb but lovable ginger tomcat. I still miss him so much.

Powell River Books said...

So many wonderful pets. I've had more cats than dogs. Since we lost Stick Tail we haven't had a pet. Our travels make it too difficult. I miss the companionship. - Margy

jabblog said...

It's the memories of the pets we have loved and who have loved us that make the inevitable sadness at the end worthwhile. Thinking of you.

Bob Roberts said...

Long posts glaze me over in line three. Break it up. More pictures. These are blogs not novels.

Gattina said...

What a nice tribute and memories to all pets you have known ! I only have cat stories we once had a dog for 8 years. My friend Nicole fears the day Charlie will leave her forever, he is now 9 years old, is in good health, except he has arthritis in his paws, but not always and he became a lazy walker !

Kay L. Davies said...

Well, Bob Roberts, whoever you are, you have no business commenting on my blog if you're only going to criticize. It is rude and nasty and neither I nor my real blog friends appreciate it.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

loved this story Kay!! I can picture each one of your pets, canine and feline, from your wonderful descriptions.

You mentioned in a comment a while ago that your dad had written books about BC rivers (which I would love to find sometime); obviously the talent for observation and writing continues in the family. You could and should publish a book!